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Health Care

Mo. lawmakers urge AG Koster to join health care suit

Jan 19, 2011
(Mo. Atty. General's Office)

Missouri lawmakers are urging Attorney General Chris Koster to challenge the federal health care law.

The Republican-led Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking the Democratic attorney general to either file his own lawsuit, join a suit by other attorneys general or join a suit filed by Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder.

A report by Elana Gordon, KCUR

Missouri's new high-risk insurance program is dropping premiums by as much as 25 percent. 

The state launched the pool this summer as part of the federal health law.

Mo. House OKs measure criticizing health care law

Jan 11, 2011

The Missouri House has passed a resolution urging state officials to join a multistate lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul and calling on Congress to repeal the law.

The House approved the resolution Tuesday on a vote of 115-46.

The resolution also urges Missouri's attorney general to defend a voter-approved law that bars the government from requiring people to have health insurance or penalizing them for not having it. The federal law requires that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: At a time of much talk about health disparities and programs to improve public health, Missouri stands out for what it isn't doing. The state dropped another notch in health rankings this year while some other states improved their showings, according to a report by United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2010 - Enisa Muratovic didn't quite know what to make of the charade-like sight of her son's pediatrician looking at her and banging on a lead pipe in the examination room.

The scene turned out to be the doctor's well-meaning but futile attempt to inform Muratovic that her son had an elevated level of lead in his blood. But the incident was bewildering to Muratovic, a Bosnian immigrant who spoke limited English at the time. She left the doctor's office still unsure what was wrong with her baby.

(Flickr Creative Commons User aflcio)

Republicans in Missouri are praising Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Virginia that declared portions of the new federal health care law unconstitutional.
The Missouri Republican Party released a statement criticizing Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill for supporting the bill.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 5, 2010 - Republican and Democratic candidates in Missouri say doing something about health care is part of their pledge to Missouri voters.

The GOP candidate for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, of Springfield, says he will work to repeal it if he wins the election. His Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, says she wants to improve it should she win. Just as Blunt has embraced his party's repeal and replace slogan, Carnahan has talked about the issue on the campaign trail in the context of her battle against breast cancer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 17, 2010 - Jeff Goldsmith, head of Virginia-based Health Futures, Inc., is one of the nation's foremost health-industry analysts. Goldsmith was in town to take part in a client roundtable at Advanced ICU Care on Thursday morning at the company's headquarters in Creve Coeur. He serves on the advisory board of the St. Louis firm, which allows critical-care doctors and nurses to monitor hospital ICU patients from a central location through telemedicine technology.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2010 - Nearly a month ago, a clear message was sent to Washington, D.C., when 71 percent of Missouri voters supported Proposition C and rejected "Obamacare."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 13, 2010 - As a progressive Democrat, I have a very different view of health-care reform than that of conservative Republicans. The dividing point is this: Do we, as a people, care enough about providing effective, affordable health care for everyone to put citizens' needs ahead of the financial interests of the health care industry?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 12, 2010 - Patients don't normally embrace their dentists after getting a tooth pulled, and dentists rarely reward patients with a crisp $5 bill. But this was no ordinary day in Gallatin County, population about 6,500, deep in the hills of southern Illinois on the banks of the Ohio.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 5, 2010 - Most of us will be fortunate to visit the local emergency room only on a handful of occasions during our lives. I had occasion to visit emergency rooms in two countries in a seven-month period: one visit to a St. Louis ER while home visiting my parents; the second to an ER in Ireland, where my husband and I live with our two young sons.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 23, 2010 - For 15 years, Dr. William Gee operated a solo medical practice in St. Louis. "It was going quite well," Gee says. But Gee was busy, a little too busy. He felt "pressure to see more and more patients with less and less time" and experienced mounting overhead costs.

"I got tired of that," Gee said.

Dr. Frank R. Burton, whose research on chronic pancreatitis helped dispel the widely held assumption that sometimes led patients to be incorrectly labeled as problem drinkers, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease) at Saint Louis University Hospital on Monday (Aug. 2, 2010). He was 58.

Dr. Burton, a professor of internal medicine, suffered a heart attack in June while vacationing, but was recovering well when it was discovered that he had advanced lung disease. The illnesses were determined to be unrelated.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 8, 2010 - Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder followed through with his promise late Thursday when he released the list of donors who have contributed to the fund set up to pay the legal costs of the suit he filed Wednesday against the federal government, claiming that its health-care changes violate states' rights.

The six-page list of donors shows that, all told, they gave just under $5,000. Most gave small amounts of $25 or $50. A majority hail from the St. Louis region, although there are a few out-of-state contributors.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 2, 2010 - Want to know which area hospital offers the best care for a heart attack or pneumonia? Has the most impressive record for preventing certain surgical infections? Provides the most charity care or has done the most to cut cost without compromising quality?

One good place to turn is in the latest report from the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition: St. Louis Health Care Industry Overview, 2010, Financial and Quality Performance.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 16, 2010 - Maria Teresa Maldonado, a Hispanic community leader, recalls the sadness she felt about a year ago when two health clinics that served Hispanic immigrants closed their doors.

But she was all smiles Friday morning at the dedication of Casa de Salud, a new health center for immigrants who face barriers to affordable health care.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2010 - When Anthem Blue Cross of California recently proposed double-digit hike in some insurance premiums, the news jolted Arlene Zarembka, a lawyer in Clayton. The owner of a solo law practice, Zarembka has watched helplessly as the cost of health insurance has risen over the years for herself and her office employee.

Zarembka was concerned because she usually hears about her own premiums this time of year. But this year, she and other small business owners are getting a little good news about health-care costs for their employees. The federal health-reform law is expected to make insurance more affordable for some small businesses.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 6, 2010 - Can investments in children's health lead to improvements in student achievement? Charles E. Basch, a professor at Columbia University's Teachers College, is one of a growing number who believe the two are related. Basch just released a study suggesting that investments in children's health may amount to an investment in student achievement.

Basch says health problems play a big role in limiting a child's motivation to learn, adding that "no matter how well teachers are prepared to teach, educational progress will be profoundly limited if students are not motivated and able to learn."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2010 - I recently purchased a candle. It was a scented model, the kind that comes inside a glass jar. I thought it might improve the air quality in my basement den where I frequently smoke cigars. The label on the jar containing the candle featured a warning: KEEP AWAY FROM THINGS THAT CAN CATCH FIRE.

What? You mean if I light the candle and place it, say, near the kitchen curtains, the flame might spread? No wonder the house keeps burning down.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 16, 2010 -Throughout the national health-care debate, the Republican leadership has focused on two issues -- tort reform and allowing the sale of policies across state lines -- as way to tamp down health-care costs. Addressing malpractice awards and limits on selling insurance, the party has said repeatedly, would fix much of what's ailing the system.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 9, 2010 - This column will start with a gigantic nail (the kind a carpenter hits with a hammer) and end with the government getting out of the health care business altogether.

During the good old days of the communist run Soviet Union, the days when dictators, thugs and bureaucrats controlled the Russian economy and dissidents went to the gulag, there was a cartoon showing one month's output of a nail factory. The cartoon showed a gigantic, 20-foot-tall nail. Everyone in Russia got the joke.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 9, 2010 - If Patricia Brennan had a chance to talk health-care reform with President Barack Obama Wednesday in St. Charles, her advice would be this: Keep it simple and keep it clean. A political independent and a health-care financial analyst, Brennan was turned off by the Democrats' backroom deals that had less to do with health insurance than with appeasing some lawmakers to win their votes.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 25, 2010 - President Barack Obama wrapped up a historic bipartisan health-care summit on Thursday by hinting that Democrats might go it alone if the two political parties cannot reach consensus on a comprehensive health bill. Obama is committed to a bill that provides coverage for the 30 million Americans lacking insurance and prevents insurers from penalizing those with pre-existing conditions.

Obama said that two parties might be able to reach agreement on 95 percent of the issues, but he says expanded coverage and pre-existing conditions may turn out to be gaps that cannot be closed.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 27, 2010 - Timothy McBride was among economists and social scientists who forecast last year that the time was ripe for health reform. That prediction looked like a certainty until last week's Senate race in Massachusetts when Scott Brown, a Republican, was elected to replace the legendary late Sen. Edward Kennedy. The election deprives Senate Democrats of the magic filibuster-proof 60 votes needed to enact a sweeping health-reform bill.

On Science: Why Vitamin D is suddenly so trendy

Jan 6, 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 6, 2010 - My doctor and I have a very simple health plan to keep me going till age 90. It has been in place for more than a decade, and has only five components:

1. Don’t smoke. I had smoked heavily in my 20s, but have not had a cigarette since 1972.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 31, 2009 - In an election year, the Missouri Legislature often finds its focus split between policy and politics. This coming session is shaping up to fit that mold, with bipartisan concerns over the state's budget problems expected to share floor time with potentially partisan posturing over political ethics.

Gov. Jay Nixon jumped into the fray this week over ethics, when he became the latest in a growing list of officials in both parties to offer proposals aimed at curbing what both sides agree is a growing public perception that some state lawmakers have been behaving badly, professionally or personally.

Commentary: In defense of health care rationing

Dec 8, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 8, 2009 - The cacophonous screed about pulling the plug on grandma may have been the product of know-nothing health-care activists and exploitive politicians. But know-nothing or not, their crude advocacy contained a bolus of accidental insight through an understanding that genuine health-care reform requires rationing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 3, 2009 - After months of attacking the Democratic health care proposals, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, now has outlined the types of changes tha he would support in the nation's health care system.

In fact, Blunt ;launched on Monday his plan to daily spotlight over the next two weeks a different health care proposal that he supports.

What to do about health care? Make it affordable

Nov 1, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 1, 2009 - Every year, America's employers and employees pay millions of dollars to insurance companies, and patients incur significant out of pocket health-care costs. Yet, despite this significant cost, and even with a wealth of medical providers and technology, millions of Americans and more than 746,000 Missourians remain uninsured. Even more are unable to pay for needed medical care. And everyday this costly system excludes even more individuals.